12 Best Horseback Riding, Animal Attractions in the Smoky Mountains

three riders on horses in the smoky mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains area is a great place to try horseback riding (photo by Wendy Key/TheSmokies.com)

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate and a partner of other affiliate programs including Booking.com, CJ and Tripster, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases via links found in this article.

Have you ever wanted to go horseback riding around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park?

If you’re visiting East Tennessee or Western North Carolina, it’s a great time to go on a horseback ride and see some beautiful mountain views from a new perspective.

There are hundreds of miles of the park’s trails open to horseback riding. Below, we’ll go over some of the best attractions in the area with current pricing so you can choose which one is best for you and your family.


Area Deals and Discounts

Subscribe to our newsletter and we will instantly deliver the best area discounts to your inbox.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Please wait...

Thank you for sign up!

How much is horseback riding in the Smoky Mountains?

Horseback rides cost about $40 on average for a one-hour ride in the Smoky Mountains.

Our list below offers a starting price for adult admission so you can compare the top attractions. Keep in mind, various packages may be available. Also, prices are subject to change and may vary by season.

Each attraction may also have a weight limit. Be sure to check the age and weight requirements upon booking.

Without further ado, here are our top picks for horseback riding in the Great Smoky Mountains:

1. Goldrush Stables

This horseback riding attraction is conveniently located in Pigeon Forge. Plus, it was voted as the No. 1 horseback riding stable by Trip Advisor in 2021.

Currently, pricing starts at $40 per rider when you book online. The attraction can accommodate riders who weigh 200-250 pounds for an extra $15.

Reservations are required. To learn more, visit them online.

2. Deer Farm Riding Stables and Petting Zoo

Deer Farm Riding Stables in Sevierville offers horseback riding and a petting zoo, all in one, within its 140-acre facility.

The riding trails are mostly shaded, and they also have pony rides for the little ones.

A 30-minute ride starts for as little as $26.99. There is a maximum weight limit of 250 lbs.

Reservations are required. To learn more, visit them online.

horses at five oaks
Five Oaks is located right along the Parkway (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

3. Five Oaks Riding Stables

Five Oaks Riding Stables in Sevierville offers a shady, 3.5-mile trail where you will see mountain streams, mountain views and even an authentic moonshine still.

Children six and older may ride on their own. Rides start at $54.99, and you can add a double rider (for ages 3-5) for only $24.99.

Plus, this is a good option for guests who also want a ziplining experience. Combo packages are available for $99.99.

To learn more, visit the website.

Read Also: Best Ziplining in the Great Smoky Mountains: Our Top 11 [2023]

man on horseback at big rock dude ranch
There are many adventure opportunities at Big Rock Dude Ranch (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

4. Big Rock Dude Ranch at Ponderosa

Big Rock Dude Ranch in Pigeon Forge offers a 3.5-mile ride through the Great Smoky Mountains with beautiful views.

This facility aims to accommodate larger riders, but contact them ahead of time if you have concerns. They also have a full petting zoo, where you can feed goats, llamas and chickens.

Gem mining and a fishing pond are also available.

A one-hour ride is $49.95 after a $5 coupon (which you can ask for at check-in!)

They also offer specials online that include a bag of food for the petting zoo, gem mining or fishing. To learn more, visit them online.

5. Jayell Ranch

Jayell Ranch in Sevierville offers a variety of activities including horseback riding, a zipline experience, ATV rides and even a monkey and exotic bird experience.

They now even offer year-round snow tubing.

The horseback ride takes guests through 260 acres of Smoky Mountain scenery. During the ride, you’ll see views of Mount LeConte and Shield’s Mountain Fort.

Horseback riding experiences start at $39.99. Combo packages are also available for those interested in ziplining or ATV rides. To learn more, visit the website.

Cades Cove and Horses Grazing
Cades Cove offers a stunning mountain view (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

6. Cades Cove Riding Stables

Cades Cove in Townsend is a very popular destination in the Smoky Mountains.

From expert riders to first-timers, Cades Cove offers something for everyone with guided trail rides, guided carriage rides, hayrides and plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities.

Rates start at $40 per person or $35 per person for ages 6-12.

To learn more, visit the website.

Harper Bros
Harper Bros. Mountain in Wears Valley has a large general store, horseback riding and a new Hawk Skylift (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

7. Harper Bros Mountain

Harper Bros Mountain in Wears Valley is a newer attraction in the Smoky Mountains. They offer a skylift, a general store and more.

The horseback riding experience offers a 15-20 minute beginner Meadow Ride which starts as low as $25 for adults and $15 for children 5-12.

Advanced rides are $60 for adults and $45 for children. Combo packages are also available.

Didn’t plan ahead? No problem! Harper Bros does not require reservations. To learn more, visit them online.

8. Davy Crockett Riding Stables

Davy Crockett Riding Stables in Townsend offers a beautiful Smoky Mountain riding experience with a knowledgeable guide that is friendly for all rider types.

Guests can book a half-hour tour for only $27 or a one-hour tour for $37. Reservations are preferred. To learn more, visit them online.

Additional attractions for animal lovers in the Smoky Mountains

If you want to spend some time with animals on your Smokies vacation, you may be interested in some of the other interactive facilities that feature animals.

Maybe a horseback ride isn’t your thing. You can still get in some animal time with these zoos.

rainforest adventure zoo in sevierville
This attraction features hundreds of tropical animals (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

9. RainForest Adventures Discovery Zoo

RainForest Adventures Zoo in Sevierville is home to hundreds of tropical and temperate animals. They have snakes, turtles, lizards, foxes, parrots, frogs and more!

The zoo is open year-round. Admission starts at only $16.99 for adults with child and senior pricing is available. Visit the website to learn more.

entrance to parrot mountain in the smokies
Parrot Mountain and Gardens is an immersive, unique experience (photo by Kim Grayson/TheSmokies.com)

10. Parrot Mountain and Gardens

Parrot Mountain and Gardens in Pigeon Forge is a peaceful, Bible-inspired garden and parrot preserve that offers guests a rare chance to interact with exotic birds and view gorgeous gardens.

Kids of all ages will love this interactive facility. Adult pricing starts at $29.95 with child and senior pricing available.

Note that this attraction is closed seasonally. To learn more, visit the website.

monkey in three monkeys emporium
Guests can have their photo taken with an adorable monkey at the Three Monkeys Photo Emporium (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

11. Three Monkeys Photo Emporium

The Three Monkeys Photo Emporium is an interactive photography experience in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains in the Pigeon Forge area. This attraction offers one-of-a-kind experiences with monkeys as well as otters.

Guests can choose from a simple photoshoot to a full experience. For pricing or to learn more, visit the website.

a white miniature bull
Meet “Diesel”, the miniature bull (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

12. Skyland Ranch

Skyland Ranch is a new attraction in Sevierville, close to the Pigeon Forge line.

It’s a mountaintop attraction with several features, including a mountain coaster, chair lift ride and more.

But one of the most adorable features is its miniature animal encounter.

The attraction offers the chance to meet miniature horses, donkeys, cows, goats and sheep. If you’re an animal lover, you won’t regret a trip to Skyland Ranch. To learn more, visit them online.

How much do petting zoos cost in the Smoky Mountains?

Most petting zoos in the Smoky Mountains region will run between $15-20 for adult tickets and roughly $10 for a child’s ticket, on average.

As a final note, riding your own horse in the Smokies requires a permit that can be obtained via the National Park Service, which will also provide the park’s trail map. Stop at a park visitor center for more information about horse use, backcountry camping, the park’s rules and other regulations or permit requirements.

Have you ever been horseback riding in TN or NC? Have you visited a petting zoo? Let us know in the comments!


Tips for the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, What You Should Know

5 Best Dinner Shows in Pigeon Forge, Ranked

Photo of author


Alaina O'Neal

Alaina is the owner and founder of Alaina Media LLC, a freelance graphic design agency, the owner and founder of BoardGameChick.com, and the co-founder of TheSmokies.com LLC – a media company that specializes in regional travel sites.

3 thoughts on “12 Best Horseback Riding, Animal Attractions in the Smoky Mountains”

  1. Don’t for get about Davey Crocketts stables in Townsend. Great place to ride trails are good and the staff is wonderful. Jaynell takes way to long to load up and ride and the trails are not that great. Deer Farm is awesome. Big Rock was fun just needed a more than than an hour ride. The best 2 hour ride in Smokemont Riding Stables in Cherokee. We have rode all the placed on your list! Almost heaven is closed now and I would not ride there again anyway.

  2. I agree Davey Crockett’s was fun and the staff was Super Nice! They didn’t try to nickle and dime us for extras like other places do. I suggest visiting the cave very nearby on the same trip. It makes for a great day.

  3. Loved the horse back riding and chairlift at Harper brothers. The views were absolutely amazing and it was very affordable!

Leave a Comment